tv Book Discussion on From the Block to the Boardroom CSPAN July 27, 2014 8:30am-9:31am EDT
>> next, tracey syphax talks about her life and memoir the 2014 harlem look fair. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone. unwelcome one smart to another panel by the harlem book fair. i want to tank max rodriquez once again for putting on this event year after year. the television audience cannot see outside of this auditorium, but if they could, they would see the street is filled with people, folks. there's enthusiasm. it's just a wonderful day in a
godsend this out. i am elizabeth nunez. before i introduce myself, i would like to introduce my co-panelists, tracey syphax. >> thank you, elizabeth. a quick introduction. my name is tracey syphax. i am a 20 year entrepreneur. i wrote a book titled subfloor about my life story and i am here to share with you all this morning. i am also just as recent as two weeks ago one of the white house champ in exchange for this year by president obama and i spend a lot of my time now speaking on mass incarceration of proper reentry tools cannot tell you a little bit about why i do that. >> well, we may seem strange part is on the stage here, the thing that binds this is we have both written memoirs and for me
it is my first memoir. i for made novels. some of you may know some of my titles. and in between boundaries, it ate it all. i really am an academic. i have been teaching at university for many, many years and currently at hunter college. this is my first memoir, not for everyday use. the first question i want to ask tracy is a question that a lot of people ask they actually is how do you get the courage to put in print some really true and hard things about yourself? because when i'm writing a novel i can hide behind the fiction. when you read a memoir, you've got to put it all out here. >> that's a good question, elizabeth. in my book, i.t. people to my lowest point in life. as a 20 year business owner, a
lot people have asked the question, why would she do that? >> can i just ask you why you did that? >> the reason why is because even though the 20 year business owner a couple weeks ago aspirants in chambers punch but there is the year i live in trenton. the first african-american to ever win that award. so the reason why he wrote the book is because i wanted to encourage anybody else and not my style to let them know they cannot only come out of that, that they can do some great things. in the state of new jersey and also no as inmate number 22696 because of my convictions at an early age. i wanted to take people to my lowest point in life and bring them to where i am today as a
respectable business owner in the community, a community activist to show that there is the way up in the way out. >> talk a little bit about the lowest point in your life. how old were you and what were the pressures on you to go into that life? >> i say this all the time. a lot of barricades, we don't have an opportunity to choose their parents. we don't have an opportunity to choose the environment we grow up in. i grew up a single parent household, mother and drugs, first introduced to drugs by my mother and her boyfriend. so i came up but not my style where a lot of my family members would go to jail and come home. that's what we did. only to find out that's not what we do. so being able to take people to the lowest point they started using drugs at the age of teen could have very gone. started selling drugs at the age
of 14. i just grew up in a lifestyle until he was 31 years old and i finally said enough is enough and i made a salad 1993 when i came home from prison that i was going to change my life forever and i was not going to prison and i was not going back to that lifestyle. my last conviction was 1988 enacted a free free ever since the mother unit. >> but what was it that makes you make that switch if you said since you were 12 you said, you said you lived with a mother and her boyfriend who are just drug users going in and out of jail, just like going on vacation i guess. so what made you after all to see her say is enough? that was easy for me. in 1988 when i get sent as last went i can find a same judge augustine stands in 1988 under.
he told me point blank, he said listen, and senior twice and said that on the bench. 1980 and here it is 1988 and reducing them. he told me third time is the charm. next time you are eligible for a 10 year sentence and i can double that and make it 36 years. right then it lightbulb went and i said this guy is trying to take my life and i realized i could not come back before he became. >> i sometimes -- i really should be talking about by memoir, to, but i'm just fascinated by his story because you know, i think people have children and they don't realize. my sister used to save to me, when are you going to weber have a good time because that is the least amount of pain you are going to have. if the lifetimes they had people have children and they don't realize what this precious thing
is in their hands. they can shape it one way or the other. in your case you were say the other way. >> i tried to do that as a father. me and my wife celebrate 30 years of marriage this august. me and my wife have been together for 38 years. we met in the eighth grade. as i tell you my story, everything that i've gone through, my family has gone through, my wife has gone through also. there's a whole chapter in my book where she talks about the experience of what she had to go through, beating with a person that had a chart problem, that had been to jail, that is trying to get themselves together. there's a whole chapter in my book where she talks about that. >> why didn't it a factor? >> it did affect her quite
often. lisa calder season of breaking up where she said enough is enough and she left. >> why did she go into that life, to? >> by wife has never been involved with drugs or anything. for a long time i had a lot of things from her. it is ironic that here we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. my wife is a correction officer. my daughter is a corrections officer. my son is in prison now talking about how we as parents have a responsibility. my son to my daughter grew up in the same household from the same parents come same parents, same parents, saying that there come the same father. my daughter is a correction officer and my son is in prison right now. as a man, it was my responsibility to have raised my son right. my wife did all she can, but i say this all the time. a woman cannot raise them in. it takes a father to do that. so my daughter, correction
officer at the age of 23, 30 years now comes seven years correction officer has a whole career in front of her. my son now starting to realize the route he took is the wrong route and he's getting himself together and have high hopes he will come home and to the right in. >> okay, i have two huge questions. i know you have questions too. i forgot the name of the woman, but she had done a stint in jail and she said most of the women in jail are there because of the connection to a boyfriend who was folded into their lives. the question i have is your wife wasn't pulled into the life. >> she pulled away. >> to what had her pulling away and not into the life. because you said you got pulled in because your mother and her boyfriend in the community around you. but there she was. what made her so strong? >> my wife believed in her children more.
she loved me, but she loved her children and family were. when we broke up the last time she said listen, i have to leave. you are not doing right. i've got a son and daughter and my responsibility is to raise my son and daughter in an environment away from what you are doing. i understood that. so my wife, the reason i've been with her for 38 years. she's a very grounded woman and she's a very strong women. i think god to have someone like that in my life, to have that to fall back on because the same relationship i've had with my wife for 38 years as a simulation chip i've had with her mother who is a strong african-american women who is like my mother. so these two strong african-american women that have been a part of my life for 30 acres basically set the standard of how it should conduct my life and brought me from a very dark time in my life to who i am today.
>> i want to what the question about why is that your son who is in that household with a mother who is a strong woman who stands up against, why is that the daughter goes one way, what happens to the sun cranks before i get there, take some if you set this struck me, which is your wife loved her children more than she loves you. i think it's courageous for a man to say and for a husband to say. in toni morrison's beloved, that was the passage that caught me. when he says that her husband, you know, he fell apart when he saw what was happening and she said i went on and the reason i went on this because i had two children in ohio and that the
bbb and my milk and i couldn't just wait there. in other words, when you read toni morrison's beloved, i am choosing my children overnight has-been. and i say that because which i am going to mention my memoir. that is one of the hardest things for me and my memoir. i felt my mother loved her husband more than she loved her children. i felt always that my mother, my mother's choice to she had to make was always with her husband. and i recall the scene in my mind are that my mother at this point had six children, ranging from ages nine to two and my father got a fellowship in one to. i remember was five years old and i remember seeing my mother
crying, crying, crying every single day. she was useless to she could take care of us. she could do anything. she just couldn't hold it together, just waiting from letters from my father and eventually my mother took that trip from trinidad to england, you know what i'm talking about and stayed with him for quite a few mom and it just was some in the stayed with me for the rest of my life. and i would envy my friend who didn't have the situation. and there were 11 and my family. but i can tell you something though, treacy, that as i got older, my sibling plus the home and my parents died in their 90s, they had a very long life and a healthy long life. i began to appreciate that they
loved each other. i think my father loved us, too. but if they had to make a choice, it would have been each other. so though i resented it growing up, which i talk about in my novel, in the end i got to feel they didn't beat us. they had a good time. so let me get back to your son. what happened there? >> my son has made the choices. >> i'm talking about the influence. what influences someone to go one way or the other and we are saying parents have a great part because you are sort of saying that's what happened with you, that your mother had a great part in going that direction. what happened with your son? >> as i said, my wife was very grounded in her beliefs and strong in her conviction and that is why i said it is hard for a woman to raise a boy into
a man. it takes a real man to do that for the better part of my son growing up, i wasn't there. i was on drugs. i was in prison. but my wife raise my daughter and son in my absence and my daughter, like i said, has a career and corrections to my son the same corrections. i take ownership of that. that is my fault. but i also know that my son, the last time it was just bad choice. i've been in business for 20 years. my son went to jail five years ago. so he went to jail when i was at the height of my businesses, doing well, working for my company. the things he did, he did have to do. he made the choice to run with the crowd, people saying, been influenced by the crowd and then
pulling a robbery and somebody ended up getting shot and now he spends time in prison. >> i want to ask you something about those choices. you know, it just seems to me, what is it that makes them make those wrong choices? is it the kind of hopelessness, like i don't see a future, but he was seeing future with you. >> that is a good question, elizabeth. question, elizabeth. one of the things i talk about in the book, i grew up in the 70s and 80s from chatham, new jersey. there's a street in trenton, new jersey, two miles long and in the 70s and 80s was about 11 or 12 african-american owned businesses. i grew up in that area. so i grew up at a time i got to see on a daily basis when
african-american entrepreneur looked like. i worked with two of them for a couple years. so i grew up knowing what that looks like. a lot of the kids today grow up and they don't see that. they don't see themselves as entrepreneurs. the top 10 in america by johns hopkins university. we'll be doing a program is to we go into the public schools and we teach sixth and seventh graders how to start and run a business. and also when we started that program i was one of the only african-american owned businesses as a part of the program. so once again, our kids are not getting the opportunity to see themselves. that is why i guess i've been involved for 17 years. i can't get out. i have to be the example of what they can be.
i just want to say the quake in trenton, new jersey, i am, i would deal the second private citizen in the history of that town to have been rebuilt a private in that town. >> to ever build a private home in that town. and they did that for a reason. number one, once again, kids growing up me to see that image. my office is located on martin luther king boulevard in trenton, new jersey. just like any other martin luther king boulevard across the country, one of the most challenging areas. nice office, renovated. once again, and i can have offices anywhere. once again, our kids in our community need to see the shins, not just drug dealers, not fancy cars, not clothes, sneakers. the need to see phish and the successful entrepreneurs that look like them so they know they can expire to be like them.
>> you are saved except what i've believed for many, many years. i've been a professor at a city university. i am now at hunter college. i really believe that when i step in front of the classroom, i don't only teach a subject, but when the students see me, i give them an idea of what they can be. at this point i've written nine novels and i can tell you i wrote my first novel of 42. why did i wait so long to write my first novel of 42? that is because they never saw anyone like me. i never saw it but when it. i have to say that john say that john all for killing scum of african-american novelist from macon, georgia, as many of you know, came to my college essay writer in residence. i said look at these papers.
he said you're a writer, elizabeth. without that role model, without someone who looked like me saying it was possible, people talk about diversity and they talk about it is making different colors in the room. but it's not about that. it's about giving young people, even older people hope. if you don't see some possible, it's hard to do it. right now i actually give workshops. i give workshops in my home to residence there. i do it free of charge. believe me it's a lot of work. i'm paid back john killen early which leads me to the question about leadership, black leadership. could you talk about that. before you do that, tell us
about the business you run. >> will you know, i believe black leadership myself then i speak for myself. i have an obligation. i have an obligation as a person who's grown up in a city neighborhood about that as been able to accomplish things in life to be successful. i have an obligation to reach back and do more. i wrote this book ventress mccomas $16, $21 bucks, not going to get rich selling these books. i wrote this to be the hope that young folks need growing up in a city with a on a daily basis are losing that hope. >> if they don't read, how they get the book? >> i'm speaking as an academic and they know of the big problems is they are not reading. >> what i did with the book and i understood that when i wrote the book.
if anybody get a chance, you could go on youtube put it for the block to the boardroom of the rock video will show up. no adverts come adobe words. a very positive message that describes this book. i did that because once again like you were saying, a lot of kids are visual and audio. i need them to see themselves in this boat. i did the rap video. your man up-and-coming rap star and i knew this guy had talent because they gave him my book and i my book and i said i did the song for this book. he did that he saw in one tape. if you ever listen, it's got about 10,000 hits on youtube. it is phenomenal that this young mind could create with rap music that song in one take and i didn't have to say take this out of put this in. the video so for the good youtube, he directed the video.
we shot the video in about 12 hours, one day. started in the morning and ended at 10:00 at night. the talent or kids have a spare, just needs to be brought up. >> i will tell you and you may tell me i am totally wrong here. you are unique in the sense that it seems to me that most people would make it bears take their seven run out of dodge. and that is why i'm asking you about leadership. i just feel -- i just don't understand it. i don't understand when someone helps you get somewhere that you finally get there and you don't feel that you have a real responsibility, not to give back directly to the person, but to the community as you are doing. but that is not what we see all the time and that is part of the problem we have. >> i agree. you can talk about that from a
simple person like myself and business to vastly, two entertainers. >> millions of dollars. i tell you that i really offended. i turn off the tv when they show programs people living in houses where they cannot possibly be enough room for a whole month. what are you trying to tell me? are those the values you are asking me to have? so i just feel, come on, give back. what are you giving back? >> i think it is important. i am very grounded in my religion and what i believe and. i got that way. it didn't just happen through my addiction and drugs. i say this on the boat. i got shot in 1988 and i agree 102-year-old grandmother and she is sharp as a whip right now,
too. she told me 20 some years ago, she said tracy, i can't say that to get out of the streets, but i'll tell you some gain. god will find you in your darkest hour. she said only then will you realize who you truly are. that happened to me in 1991. i was in raleigh state prison. i spent 23 hours in lockup for a year straight for something i didn't do. for a year straight. >> explain that to us. >> 23 r. locker. you come up for a half-hour shower and a half hour in the rack in a yard may be late is where the walls are so high that the only thing you can see is this guy. and i did that over some and then it didn't do. i had a cousin that was locked up for assaulting a police officer and i jumped in to try to break it. he ended up going to the hole and they took me. he got charged with assault.
i got charged with assault. he got shipped to trenton state prison. i got shipped to raleigh state prison. that gave him the street charging they got extra time. they gave me a street charge. they ended up dropping nine, but they kept the administrative charge, which is the prison system charge. so they spent each they spent each year in a cell it's no bigger than your average sized bathroom. but that's good. god has a way of doing some amazing things to wake you up and >> you around a little bit. he did then because i remember sitting in that house for a year straight and i read the bible from start to finish. i found out who i really was and i knew then that i wasn't the guy that landed me they are. when i came out of sag around the end of 1990 it never shipped to camden, new jersey to riverfront state prison.
i was a changed man. >> i can see that. >> i was not the same person that went and peers stuff like that i really believe and i get this question all the time. if you had to go back over your life, would you change anything he went through? >> i got a bullet lodged in my spine. i spent three weeks in a coma. i would not change one thing i've been through because what i've been through this because god wanted me to go through that and want to put me where i am today, to do the students i do today, to be an example of what you could be. >> .put you in that situation, but you made the choice. >> it was a hard choice, too. >> you could've gone either way. you made the choice that is admirable. tell us about the award you got from president obama. let's have a high note here.
>> chewed 30th, two weeks ago, so now all remember this day for the rest of my life. i thought in 2011 when i became entrepreneur of the year by the chamber of commerce, the first african american and that one year history. they didn't always the first ex-offender also. they didn't know until after they give me the award. i thought that was the talk. once i'm gone, that is always going to be there. about a month and a half ago i got an e-mail from the white house. as they say or develop programs, which i talked about the mlb program, but i also speak in prisons in drug rehab centers in halfway houses on the end of mass incarceration for nonviolent offenders in proper rich rituals through entrepreneurship for folks that come home from prison because i believe that i learned from this, over 1985 i attended the
million man march in one of things was if he didn't have a charge, you do another job for me or charge was to go to your community and create one and i started my business three months after that. fast forward to june 30th when i got the e-mail from the white house. i actually missed it. it came out tuesday on election day in trenton. i was working hard trying to get a good friend of mine elected mayor. it's ironic the friend of mine was the former police chief and a talk about him in my book also appeared that he didn't win and i didn't go back and check my e-mails for a couple days. i checked it on thursday and found out the white house sent me an e-mail saying i was nominated as a champion of change for 2014 and i had to respond. and i responded that thursday and i was done. she simply said tracy comic it
is the information by the end of the day they were still in there. this was unprecedented. a thousand nominees across the country. i've been one of 16. [applause] >> amazing. so i went to the white house and was on some panels with attorney general holder. and i believe also right now that we are in a good position that attorney general holder is doing something sudden revamping the justice system and criminal laws of rockefeller laws in all these laws continually incarcerate african-americans that. i'm enraged. we incarcerate more people in america than any country. the moral of that is free as we say as we are and it's mainly african-americans, as free as we say we are, we have lost right now and alexander wrote it up eloquently of the new jim crow.
we have lost right now. i don't care if you're convicted one year in jail for 10 years in jail, you are convicted to a lifetime sentence when you get home because you'll never have housing, job, voting rights, all those seen the two reintegrate yourselves back into society, you are stripped for the rest of your life. .. convicted of a crime. we worked in the state of new jersey and this is why i wanted a chance -- just recently i announced because it happened two weeks ago, the state legislature of trenton pass a law i worked on tirelessly for three is with the new jersey institute social justice called ben the box, which stops employers from discriminating against people with criminal records. it is not the you are going to be asked about that criminal record, just that we want you to release the second or third interview. we thought you could at least a we offered him a job, now we
need to hear back before we give you this job and that is giving them the opportunity to get their foot in the door because if you check the box on the application your application only goes in this pile over here and that piles is to not hire a you could be listing your best employes, over 20 years in business during the height of mike company, 18 employees might best jobs are ex offenders because of a comment, 18 employees, some of the best employees i ever had. looking for an opportunity. i got guys to come to my office on a daily basis a guy can't go back to jail. i just need and opportunity. i will sweep up, i will do anything. i cannot go back to jail. i have a son.
when somebody tells you that and you have been through that and you know where they're coming from is not something you can walk away from. not something you can just ignore. winning the award of being a champion of change in the area of reentry into mass incarceration is not something i take lightly, something i'm going to work on until the day i die because it is such a very important issue. >> my father used to say there for the grace of god go i.. limited too hard on ourselves, there for the grace of god go i. if you were in god's situation what would you do? i am sure you have a number of questions to ask so we are going to maybe exchange one more question here and if you would line up the microphone so we could go right into your
questions while we are doing that. how is your son now? >> my son is in north new jersey at anne hathaway house so he is on his way home. this is my son's second bid. in the first one we sent to north carolina. we fly and my wife takes another airplane and listen. you were young. he came back to new jersey, got locked up again. as a parent you say that but do you really mean it. i am doing it again but like the judge told me, third time is the charm, i am telling him i am not doing it any more. for me as the person being locked up to go into the prison
system i don't mind going back. i do at all the time. i will be speaking to the inmates at trinity state prison on september 12th which is my birthday i told him was my birthday. i will be spending my birthday in state prison talking to the inmates for the naacp to have a branch inside the prison because i believe it is such an important issue. this is it, i am not doing it anymore. i think he understands -- >> you will be there every single time. >> i used to say just don't let your children here several hits against the grounds. and under them, this is the last time it takes that sliding for you if you do it again. tell us your name and your
question. let's go to questions rather than comments because we have a wonderful opportunity. >> my name is chris johnson from albany, new york. the question for tracey syphax is what role did the memoir play in your healing process from when you finally came out of hell to where you are today? >> i talk about it in the book. i was abused as a young kid, 8 years old. my mom moved to texas and when we got to texas she got locked up and i was in a foster home and abused by a young lady that was there. something i never talked about. i talked about it with my wife. my mom didn't even know. when i wrote the book i talk about it and a lot of my family members found out about it's
only then. so writing this book, i had a ghost writer that wrote the book so you are talking a lot of full conversations, tape-recorded conversations to atlanta. it was almost like on long caps being able to remove my whole life. i start to where i am today. i have a great opportunity to cleanse myself of a lot of things i held in. a lot of things other people did know about and did very well. it was good for me, good therapy for me to do the book. c-span: >> i will take your question too because the memoir has a kind of cathartic release and you find yourself facing some things you would not ordinarily face and one of them i have to tell you, when i was having my son in
hospital in brooklyn which i will not name, the night before i was -- to take him home the night before, i am getting myself ready because in the morning i am taking my son home. in comes this doctor. he was a young doctor. along with social service person with a clipboard in his hand saying they reported me and i said reported me for what? you know what. giving your son macedonia to calm him down. i was a professor. i had a ph.d.. i had written of book. but i was okay. i don't know what they are
talking about. i can't connect. i didn't know what that was. he told me i was the heroin addict. and i said how? immediately in front of everybody, i didn't care. i said find it. find where i injected myself. it is in my memoir. it is a hard story for my son to read because it happened on a friday and they have already reported me and therefore the bureau was locked up. i couldn't get my son out until monday and of course at this point the hospital is afraid i am going to sue them so when i come on monday to get my son they have all kinds of excuses. cheese spitting up, he is this, he is that, you can't take him, i can close my eyes and see
myself ripping through that hospital and taking my son and i said i don't care what form you want me to sign he is going out here with me. it is a hard thing and people don't realize, they talk about racism but don't realize the extent to which it affects us. almost in tears, you kind of hide that from your son because it is like once people believe it is absolutely not true but people believe it. i don't even know what it is about. you hide it and i wrote it in the memoir and is a hard thing for my son to read because the next thing in my head -- when he
gets to go to college and looking for a job they have a hard thing, is an unbelievable thing that happened and that was 1976 missing a long time ago for some of you but that was yesterday for me. let's take another question. >> good afternoon. i am from new jersey, the brunswick area. i have a question regarding your daughter. you mentioned your daughter is doing well in her career and had a strong foundation with her mom. strong african-american woman. how is your daughter able to establish a healthy relationship with african black men since there was such a conflict in her life with her father not there
and her brother being incarcerated. >> that is a good question. my daughter has done very well in her relationship with other men. as far as i know my daughter is 30 years old now. i can only remember three boyfriends in her life. her daughter's father who she is not with now and the person she is with now who they are looking to get married in 2015 so i think she has done very well and i think once again i attribute that to her mother. >> to you too. >> she talks a little bit in the book also. my daughter will tell you that i am not the father that i used to be and she remembers but also
remembers even in my addiction i had my daughter. you know what i mean? i played with my daughter, have a lot of pictures in my addiction, meet with my daughter, laying in the bed with her, so we had that father/daughter relationship. she remembered that but she has done very well now. >> as i said i am an epidemic condition and academic and one thing i always told my female students, sex with a boyfriend, two children, you can be met with your boyfriend all you want but that is the children's father so no matter what happens you keep this relationship, let them have a father. was a lesson i applied to myself too. my son has a great relationship with his father. he hasn't got a clue.
he hasn't got a clue with what happened in my life. i think when i told him i was getting divorced, everything seems fine, what is going on. it is two different things. i learned it from my parents the same way. your child is entitled to a father or mother. no matter what your little problem is or your big problem is. >> before we get to the question, with my father also, i didn't have a relationship with my father, i lived in trenton, new jersey, which is a 50 minute ride. my relationship with my father, when i did that in school, i took a buzz from trenton to
asbury, got beach and went back to trenton. even today, a relationship i had with my dad is beautiful. my dad supports me in everything i do. i have a great relationship, my dad had challenges growing debt but he got clean the law earlier in the newseums to work for the federal government. he did well for himself but he had some challenges growing up also that he had to overcome. that was my relationship. >> we have the beating aside, totally against that. 1,000 -- >> this is in the early 70s. >> selling that out, just the fact that she is not doing that,
and that was love. >> i am from and eddie -- and eddie --amityville and i have a question about my relationship with my sister. she is an entrepreneur, and she entwines all these things and gets caught up with unsavory elements in our environment so she has been incarcerated most of my adult life back and forth. since i was 15 years old. in the frost this of differing times she has impersonated me. i am counselor and the work and
different boards and that live in the town of babylon to assist in opening a silver home and i have been awarded certain things. as a veterans they allow me to start my own business and i think that mean -- i have one major challenge and that is how do i at this age find healing and forgiveness for my sister and be able to help her because literally she is asking for my help. >> let me have tracy answer the question. >> i have to be fair, i have to give her a chance but where and how do i start? it has to be a way that i haven't been manipulated in the past. >> that is of very important
question. i have a lot of family members in prison. just recently, my cousin that i got in trouble with that i was locked up with, that same cousin is locked away for murder, and i still write him, send him money, support him even though he is still in prison now and may be in prison for a long time. i think it is a way you can support from a far. it is hard -- these are my brothers and sisters, these are my cousins, my cousins are like my brothers. we are always that close. i try to support him and support them. another cousin, his brother actually who came home from doing 17 years, has a job and lost the job so i am trying to
help him get another job to keep him from going to survive, family is family. you don't let them bring you down and stop you from doing what you need to do. family can do that also. you have to support -- your sister, that is never going to change. you have to support her but you don't want her to hamper you from doing what you wouldn't do for yourself or your family. >> i appreciate your time. >> i don't know how much time we have. i need a timekeeper. we have eight or so minutes. ten minutes. let's have your question. >> right on time.
i always find it a privilege to be in places like this. how is it that you haven't found your darkest period? that is what your grandmother said, you will be found in your darkest moment. you were able to recover to a point that you flew to the heights that you did and open a business and have people who come to you to be employed with the same background you have. and your people are pursuing -- and the people before me. where did you find that you can pass on to the next person to do the same thing? >> it is less god for me. they don't like to talk about
religion but they help me, that is what helped me. my faith and my belief in god. and that would be the cornerstone. when you start reading the bible and the talks about the first will be less than the last will be first and i look at myself and was rejected. and what you really believe in is nothing that -- i believe even with all the stuff you have, all the convictions, prior addictions, everything i have my still believe and my faith allows me to believe this. there is nothing that i can't do. people say you should run for mayor or senate. in my mind, and if i wanted to, not something i'm interested in right now but when people say
that to me, it is not far-fetched for me because my faith allows me to believe that anything i want to do in this lifetime is impossible for me to do and do is cut and dried with me. >> i grew up in trinidad in the tropics where we have a lot of bats at night and my father would say to us you are not a bad. when you fall you don't fall on your head and get knocked out because you are not a bad. you don't fall on your head and get knocked out. you fall on your feet and jump up. the piece that a lot of people need to tell lot of young people again, here i am as the teacher, it is about hard work and
persistence. they missed the idea of hard work. people say to me he elizabeth, how come every time i look around you have written another book? this morning at 5:30 in the morning i was on my computer. i knew i had to get here. from 5:30 to 9:30, how many hours is that? i got four hours of riding the morning i just started. it is persistence and doing the work. when students come to me and tell me, when i start, if you coming at 10:30 when you better go to somebody else's class. because i have to model it. i have to be fair on the dust at 10:30. when you and your papers, the next class i have to have your paper corrected. i want you to give me back.
so you models that. there are no exceptions and it always interests me that students come to my class the next semester, you know what you are into. sometimes when you say you wish it, i want it, i wish it, i want it, that is fine but young people have to understand people who reach where you are, wishing it and dreaming and imagining it, it is by working, putting hard work, i say to my son all the time, and -- >> that is important. and it started early and end
very late. and i believe in hard work. i believe like you said from being on time, doing what you say you are going to do. if you can't be on time, the early. that is something we have to live by. i also believe -- no excuses. i don't believe in making excuses for anything. i believe in results. my dad always told me for every problem there are ten solutions and as you walk away at you get harder and harder but you have to figure it out. i really believe that. >> people have to understand. what i tell you i stopped at 9:30 my granddaughter who is 7 years old had not finished her chapter in the book yesterday
and i told her parents at 930 she comes over to my house at 9:30 and says can i look at tv? i simply 10 minutes. you have to finish the chapter. i am saying to you you put that with generations, you let somebody -- i let her know if you are going to finish this and you didn't finish it today you finish it tomorrow even if it is -- you finish it. and i think we need -- many more years that i want to tell you but i know really my students who have done well who have achieved and some of them i just, you know, i was walking down lewis avenue and this man comes to me and practically bows in the streets and everyone is walking him and he says do you know who i am? he is a doctor ought some prestigious hospital and he says
to me i was in your class where i teach thousands of students, can't even remember, when i heard you call yourself a doctor elizabeth nunez, what is that? talking bout modeling and i am not american but it is that and the sense of knowing -- is not just a few can dream it you can achieve it. that is not it. you dream it that is the first the. if you work hard you can achieve it. you have a question. >> my name is david. i wanted -- a quick question. how can we address the mentality young black males in our communities, get them, find some way to get them out from that mentality and getting themselves in trouble realizing that is not really a thing? i got to get them to read my book.
>> that is the reason i titled it -- some students i teach in my business program didn't know anything about it. i don't want you to experience that. i want you to go straight to the board room. and how to get there and allow our kids in the inner city and the young man who did the introduction to the book said it so eloquently, it is a walking beautifully with god, hard work and opportunity and those three things, i don't believe in good luck, i never wish anybody good luck. i believe we all have the ability to create our own version of lock through hard work and opportunity. i try to spread that message wherever i can. i don't believe if you dream it you can achieve it. when you dream you got to wake up. do something to make that
happen. >> i am tired of hearing that, you have no idea. this is the first time i met you but i am inspired by you, i am inspired to get more involved and work harder. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> read his book, by the book, pass it on. i didn't say much about my book. thank you for being here. >> thank you very much. >> [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books on c-span2's booktv. television for serious readers. >> up next on booktv, finish this is a, author of america debates dan mccarthy on the subject of american foreign policy.
this is just over one hour. >> he's feeling sweet. we are gathered in a great sovereign state of nevada to decide the fate of american foreign policy. we hope to discover whether it is the business of these the united states to defend our liberties and our way of life against enemies real or imagined in foreign lands and to spill our blood and treasure going after terrorists, dictators, and how effective in the middle east and other countries outside our borders. showed our military engage in preemptive strikes against authority leaders who don't share our cultural or religious values causing america to be hated in many parts of the world? should we engage in regime change and nationbuilding in iraq and afghanistan like we did in japan after world war two? doesn't 9/11 terrorist attacks by islamic fundamentalists justify the passage of the patriot act? an